On Thursday, the three former Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd were found guilty of violating his civil rights by a federal jury. The jury — made up of four men and eight women — found Tou Thao, 36, J. Alexander Kueng, 28, and Thomas Lane, 38, guilty of depriving Floyd of his civil rights by displaying deliberate indifference to his medical needs as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes in the May 25, 2020, killing. Thao and Kueng were also found guilty of an additional charge of failing to intervene to stop Chauvin. Lane did not face the additional charge.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder in April 2021. He waived his right to trial by pleading guilty to one count of violating Floyd’s rights. Prosecutors said the three officers ignored their training as they failed to intervene with Chauvin and mocked and refused to help Floyd as he lay dying under the officer’s knee. They also noted the trio had the ability and duty to render aid to Floyd as he repeatedly complained he couldn’t breathe as Chauvin had him pinned down with a knee on his neck — but chose not to.
The Justice Department states that violating a person’s civil rights is “punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime and the resulting injury, if any.” However, federal sentencing guidelines suggest the officers could receive a lesser sentence.
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